We all know that when buying any new beverage or food product, one of the BEST things we can do for our health is to turn it around and look at that ingredients list. In many cases, what may seem like a healthy, natural product is actually filled with preservatives, sugar, and artificial nonsense. Yikes!
Read on to discover 3 red flags hiding in plane sight on the back panels of today's hydration products – and 3 green lights.
3 Red Flags
Sugar is at the top of the list
Sugar is everywhere, and if we're not careful, we could get in trouble over consuming it. Always check to see if sugar is at the top of the list on any hydration product. If it is, best to check out other options first.
Acidic preservatives included
Did you know that over 90% of today's hydration drinks contain acidic ingredients like Citric Acid, Malic Acid, and Phosphoric Acid? These are put in drinks to extend their shelf life. While preservatives offer us convenience, they also harm our health and performance. We recommend hydration products without acids if possible.
Artificials of any kind
Artificial ingredients are unnatural additives used for a variety of reasons. One such reason is to keep the main ingredients from behaving naturally. For example, some ingredients don't mix well in water and like to collect together and float. So in order to keep the drink looking nice and appealing, manufacturers pump it full of strange chemicals. So always look products with ingredients that you recognize and remember that real ingredients look and behave more organically.
3 Green Lights
Ingredients you recognize
Always check for ingredients you recognize and can pronounce. But remember that hydration products contain electrolytes that may sound a little strange, but are actually good. So if you see "Sodium," "Potassium," "Chloride," "Phosphate," "Calcium" or "Magnesium" in conjunction with "Carbonate," "Bicarbonate," or with each other, no worries, they're the electrolytes you want.
Less is more
We know that the shorter the ingredients list, the better. But if the ingredients list is on the longer side, make sure the ingredients are real.
0 sugar / low calories
Ideally, healthy hydration products should have 0 sugar and few calories. Why not 0 calories? Nowadays, some hydration products have other good stuff besides electrolytes like nutrients from real Turmeric or Ginger, for example, so that will translate to a few calories like 10, 15, or 20. Just steer clear from hydration products with unnecessarily high calories, such as your typical sports drinks, which could have more than 100 - 200 calories!